Tuesday, January 10, 2012

My Life in Laundry

If there were an "L" word, laundry would be it.

Laundry has consumed my life since my daughter was born in 1991. I was hopeful when she moved out several years ago after 18 years of washing her clothes that my laundry "load" would be lightened. Perhaps there would only be 10 loads a week instead of 12.  And sometimes I do feel like there is less laundry. But sometimes it means that I find her clothes around  the house when she has spent time here and that I take care of them and try to get them back to her. Practically I should "wash" my hands of her clothing. She is 20 after all. Not much about being a Mom is practical, however. Sometimes I take her stuff to the dry cleaner's, too. Bad mommy.

And yes, one less person in the house should theoretically mean less laundry. For a while now I have been trying to figure out why that really isn't true. I think I have an idea. Even though one person moves out, the remaining children here go through growth spurts (ie 13 year old boy) and their clothes get bigger. Dumb? If two kids go up a size then that increases the amount of laundry, right? Enough to make up the loss of one less person? Maybe not. I am delusional as I sort sort wash wash dry dry fold fold and stare hopelessly at the basket earmarked solely for unmatched socks.

Babies and toddlers generate tons of laundry, but their clothes are the size of washcloths compared to my teenage son's sports jerseys.(And believe it or not, they smell better.) And now that my husband has taken up basketball, biking, hiking and canyoneering, I now have a new genre of laundry--"adventure clothes."

In my teenage years, I would go through my closet in the morning and throw tantrums that there was "nothing to wear." Then I would throw my discarded clothes on to the floor where they would end up in the wash. Today, my kids don't have meltdowns about clothes (thank the Lord), but they still throw perfectly clean clothes on the floor if they decide not to wear them. When I don't feel like smelling them to find out if they are clean (or just don't have the stomach for it) I just wash everything--everything.

Wash wash wash. Fold fold fold. Like a Chinese laundry.

"Have the kids do their own laundry," my husband advises. What that means is that they let it accumulate for two weeks (14 pairs of underwear equals 14 days of not doing laundry!) and then they dump a truckload of clothes on the laundry room floor when I am also doing laundry. They put in a load and then go off for a "day date" to Jump on It and return five hours later with more sweaty clothes. In the meantime I have done multiple yoga moves to get over the pile to the washing machine to keep it all going.

Wash wash wash. Fold fold fold.

If I discover that I am out of Downey (the staff of my laundry life and the only thing about laundry that doesn't completely defeat me) I may lose it for a while thinking that I have to use a crummy dryer sheet. Running out of Downy is like running out of Diet Coke or clean underwear, if you must know.

Don't get me going on the sock basket that never has a single match. It sits on the floor by the dryer with 100 screaming occupants shouting, "match me, match me!"

"It's time for family home evening, kids," I said one Monday night. "We're all going to match socks!" Fun fun fun, match match match. Lame lame lame.


Emery County Historical Preservation Commission said...

I love reading your blog. You are so cute! Love you, Dottie

Tani said...

Ellen, this is super funny. And I totally hear you about Downy. It does redeem laundry, more than a little.

The Purple Lady said...

Great post! I can totally identify with you. We are in about the same boat, except my oldest is 15 with Autism Spectrum Disorder. I look forward to reading your blog.

Debbie said...

I loved the line about not being in the mood to smell the clothes to see if they are actually dirty. It's just easier (mentally, at least) to wash them. At least it was for me.
My children are grown, but your post brought back so many memories. . . and gave me a good chuckle. Thank you.

Judy said...

You haven't lost your touch--in spite of all the "academic writing" you've been doing lately! wash wash true true again again ha ha